Adrift In a sea of misinformation and cat memes
by Lynette Sowell
My front porch
I wrote this column more than a year ago, and I believe it’s even more relevant now that in Copperas Cove, we have a source of local news. There is so much bad news, unreliable news, misinformation that is drifting around.
I love the connections social media fosters between friends and family, especially now. We can keep in touch and be together, yet apart. On the other hand, social media is a storm of sometimes unreliable information with sprinkles of truth and whole stories mixed in. How can you tell the difference? Is it worth it to take the time to figure that out? Who has time for that?
What if you miss news announcement on social media? Facebook skeptic that I am, when a good friend said she missed an announcement I’d made on the newspaper’s Facebook page, I was surprised. We’d posted it DAYS ago, but she didn’t see it.
What to do? Wouldn’t it be great if you could find your local news in one place, and you didn’t have to hunt a post on social media? What if you missed a post, and didn’t realize it? What can anyone do, to receive their local news in one spot?
I’ve found our solution – the local newspaper. So here it is again:
“I am your local newspaper.”
You can find me at your supermarket, drugstore, corner café, at the auto repair shop, in shopping center racks, and convenience stores where you pump your gas. I show up in the mailbox at your curb and in your electronic inbox.
Long ago, I told the tales of who came and went in our city, who visited family out of state, and told you how much it cost for a dozen eggs. Long ago, I told the history of our city as it was being formed and shaped, by the people who are now gray-haired and those who have passed on.
I do not compete with the behemoth of national news. For me, the biggest news is what happens in your backyard and I tell those stories. Of bake sales and benefits, of fun runs and golf tournaments, of people trying to make their community a better place.
Of businesses, large and small – especially small! – who open doors to serve us. I tell the stories of those living their big dream in a small city.
I keep an eye on local government and show you how it spends its funds – often your funds! I give a voice to the people by freely printing their letters as they speak out about what concerns them. When a big change in the city is on the horizon, I tell you about it in advance so you can prepare for it, to embrace it or to speak out against it without fear of retribution. In other countries, I would not fare so well, with governments who want to shut me up, drown me out, or make me live in fear of what I can and cannot tell you.
I trace the growth of our city, with groundbreaking ceremonies and ribbon cuttings, with new roads and new homes, as our city changes and grows.
As your children grow, I share their school-day stories, their programs and concerts, their sports and scholastic achievements. I celebrate our graduates and those who go on to serve our country. I serve as a place for a final farewell for your loved ones, to commemorate their lives in a memorial.
When the bad news happens, I will share it unflinchingly because you deserve to know the truth. I will not skew the facts to appeal to a certain group but share facets of the story for all to see.
When the social media stream and websites proclaim what people believe to be the truth, I will share the best information possible to avoid misinformation.
I am funded by those who believe I can help market them to the masses, the thousands here who select their news carefully, and not from the “big guy” for whom our city is often an afterthought.
My writers live here, work here, play here and know our city inside and out.
I am your local newspaper on social media, with thousands of virtual followers. I do not fight the digital age, but I embrace it as yet another extension of myself. I am there in your news feed, along with pictures of your best friend’s night on the town and your sister’s cat.
I am your local newspaper. I am on your side and here for you, as long as you will have me. We are local, too.